French PM puts fine wines up for auction

Wines from the cellar of the official Paris residence of French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault are to go under the hammer today in a bid to tackle national debt.

Hôtel Matignon

As reported by French radio station RFI, a similar auction was held by Drouot in May for wines from the Elysée, home to French President François Hollande, which netted €718,000, far exceeding its €250,000 estimate.

The wine budget at the Prime Minister’s residence has been reduced in line with other French institutions.

Some 1,400 bottles from the cellar at Hôtel Matignon are to be sold at the auction, accounting for around 10% of the all-French collection.

According to Matignon’s head sommelier, Claude Bluzet, a number of the wines have been put up for sale as they are deemed “too expensive to serve”.

A bottle of 2004 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti worth in the region of €5,000 is among the top lots, along with a bottle of La Tâche 1990, valued at €2,000, and a case of Bordeaux first growth Château Mouton Rothschild 2000.

“We’ve never served Pétrus at Matignon and are putting our sole bottle of DRC up for auction,” Bluzet admitted to RFI, pointing out that he sources second and third growths over the first growths, along with wines from Jura and Provence.

While many of the wines to go under the hammer are expected to fetch lofty sums, there are a number of affordable wines up for grabs, with bidding starting at just €15.

“Vineyards give us good rates. It’s in their interest to have their wines served at our tables,” Bluzet said, admitting that he wouldn’t rule out serving €5 wines at cabinet lunches.

The British government successfully auctioned off fine wines from its own cellar in March, raising £74,406.

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